- Modern workers are looking for more than just a paycheck — they want purpose and meaning from their work.
- Achieving a culture of engagement should be a priority, as research shows that employee engagement has a positive effect on overall business outcomes.
- Findings from Gallup demonstrates that organizations with a culture of engagement have higher-performing employees, giving them a competitive edge.
Gallup recently published the report “Building a High-Development Culture Through Your Employee Engagement Strategy”.
Employee engagement has become a key topic in future of work discussions, particularly because the demands and desires of today’s employees have changed. The modern worker cares less about job satisfaction and a paycheck and more about personal growth, purpose, and meaning.
“People are looking for more than just a paycheck. They want purpose and meaning from their work. They want to be known for what makes them unique. And they want relationships, particularly with a manager who can coach them to the next level.”
Achieving a culture of high employee engagement, however, is no easy task. Yet, it should top the list of company priorities as it has been found that employee engagement can have a positive effect on overall business outcomes.
Technology has changed and revolutionized the way we work, but Gallup argues that human nature hasn’t. “Employees still have fundamental psychological needs that must be met to achieve high performance.” Engagement, therefore, remains an essential requirement for workers to carry out their best work.
Engagement and Business Outcomes
Gallup’s study covered more than 82,000 teams, totaling over 1.8 million employees across 230 organizations in 73 countries.
“When Gallup analyzed the differences in performance between engaged and actively disengaged business/work units, those scoring in the top quartile on employee engagement significantly outperformed those in the bottom quartile on these crucial performance outcomes.”
- 41% of companies with high employee engagement report lower absenteeism
- 58% of companies with high employee engagement report fewer patient safety incidents
- 24% of companies with high employee engagement report less turnover (in high-turnover organizations)
- 59% of companies with high employee engagement report less turnover (in low-turnover organizations)
- 28% of companies with high employee engagement report less shrinkage
- 70% of companies with high employee engagement report fewer safety incidents
- 40% of companies with high employee engagement report fewer defects (quality
- 10% of companies with high employee engagement report higher customer ratings
- 17% of companies with high employee engagement report higher productivity
- 20% of companies with high employee engagement report higher sales
- 21% of companies with high employee engagement report higher profitability
These findings clearly demonstrate that organizations that have successfully developed a culture of engagement have higher-performing employees. This gives companies a competitive edge, “positioning them for success regardless of the changes they encounter.”
Why Engagement Efforts Fail
Most, if not all, companies have employee engagement programs and efforts in place. Unfortunately, most of the time, these efforts fail.
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It’s not the lack of programs, but rather the execution of these programs that companies need to work on. Gallup identified the following as primary reasons why the execution of engagement efforts fail:
- “Leaders make engagement metrics far too complicated by focusing on predictors of their organization’s successes or failures — predictors that often are outside of managers’ control and typically don’t relate to meeting employees’ core psychological needs at work.
- “They use a low-bar “percent favorable” metric that inflates scores and creates blind spots, resulting in the appearance of high engagement without strong business outcomes.”
- “They overuse pulse surveys to get immediate feedback and rarely take action on the results.”
- “Employee engagement is widely considered an ‘HR thing’. It’s not owned by leaders, expected of managers or understood by front-line employees.”
The last of the above points is likely the most important one and the one that companies should first address if they hope to increase their engagement levels.
Company leaders need to take an active and proactive role in employee engagement programs. To that extent, Gallup argues that “if leaders could prioritize one action, it should be equipping their managers to become coaches. This means putting engagement front and center as a primary responsibility.”
Employees who receive daily feedback from their managers are three times more likely to be engaged when compared to those who receive feedback once a year or less. Today’s business world is fast-paced, company goals are rapidly changing, and the same can be said about employee expectations. These changes and expectations need to be clearly communicated on a regular basis, otherwise employees will not be able to focus on their personal and professional growth.
To encourage and nurture a culture of high engagement, leaders must:
- redefine managers’ roles and expectations
- provide the tools, resources and development that managers need to meet those expectations
- create evaluation practices that help managers accurately measure performance, hold employees accountable and coach to the future.
12 Elements that Predict High Engagement
In the report, Gallup identified 12 elements of employee engagement that predict high team performance in critical business outcomes including retention, productivity, safety, sales and revenue.
- I know what is expected of me at work.
- I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
- At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
- In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
- My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
- There is someone at work who encourages my development.
- At work, my opinions seem to count.
- The mission or purpose of my organization makes me feel my job is important.
- My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
- I have a best friend at work.
- In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
- This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.